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Located in Cabbagetown, Zakkushi is the place to go for yakitori in Toronto. Originating from Vancouver, Zakkushi opened up nearly two years ago and is still as popular as ever. Reservations are a must for weekend visits or expect to wait.

The Zakkushi Group, which has two locations in Vancouver, also owns Sushi Bar Sushiya which is located in the space just under the Toronto location and Ramen Raijin located near the Eaton Centre.

Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll immediately notice its loud and lively atmosphere which was reminiscent of Guu Izakaya. The space is tightly packed with wooden tables and uncushioned benches and seats. There’s a 2-hour dining limit but its not the most comfortable seating so you probably wouldn’t want to stay too much longer than that.

The interior

The interior

To say that Zakkushi has an extensive menu is an understatement. They specialize in yakitori (skewers of meat cooked over Japanese charcoal) and serve nearly every part of an animal available. The yakitori is priced by the skewer so you can go nuts. But I recommend coming with a large group so you can sample as many things as possible. We ate our hearts out for around $55 per person including beer:

Takowasabi – octopus mixed with wasabi stem ($3.80)


Wagyu Beef Tsukune – Wagyu beef meatballs ($3.50/skewer) and Premium Beef Tongue  thick cut beef tongue with salt & pepper ($4.50/skewer)

Wagyu Beef Tsukune

Tsukune – chicken meatball ($1.70/skewer) and Norimayo Tsukune – chicken meatball with teriyaki, seaweed & mayo ($2/skewer)


Chicken Livers ($1.60/skewer)

Chicken Livers

Momo – chicken thigh ($1.60/skewer)


Chicken Gizzards ($1.90/skewer) and Chicken Hearts ($1.60/skewer)


Negi Tongue – beef tongue with onion sauce ($2.30)

Negi Tongue

P-Toro – crunch & juicy pork ($2/skewer)


Bacon & Asparagus ($2.40/skewer)

Bacon & Asparagus

Uzura Maki – quail eggs wrapped with pork ($2.10/skewer)

Uzura Maki

Horumon – grilled pork intestine with BBQ sauce ($2.50/skewer)


Cheese Mochi Maki – sticky rice wrapped with pork & melted cheese on top ($2.40/skewer)

Cheese Mochi Maki

Yakioni – grilled rice balls with a choice of soy or butter ($2)


Scallops – with soy sauce & butter ($3.10/skewer) and Unagi – eel with teriyaki sauce & Sansho pepper ($5.80/skewer)

Unagi & Scallops

Shime Saba marinated mackerel 

Shime Saba

Chicken Karaage – deep fried chicken thighs with sweet vinegar & soy sauce ($5.80)

Chicken Karaage

Nankotsu – deep fried chicken knee cartilage with mayo ($4.60)


Age Mochi – deep fried sticky rice with sweet soy sauce ($4.20)

Age Mochi

Takoyaki – deep fried octopus balls ($4.90)


Baby Octopus – with sour plum mayo ($6.50)

Baby Octopus

Saba Shio Yaki – grilled mackerel ($6.40)

Saba Shio Yaki

BBQ Beef Don – BBQ beef, green onion & seaweed on top of steamed rice ($7.50)

BBQ Beef Don

Sauce Yakisoba –  pan fried noodles with sliced pork & vegetables ($7)

Sauce Yakisoba

Kinako Mochi Ice Cream – soy powder sprinkled vanilla ice cream & sticky rice with maple syrup ($3.80)

Kinako Mochi Ice Cream

Kuro Goma Ice Cream – homemade black sesame ice cream with raspberry syrup ($3.80)

Kuro Goma Ice Cream

What didn’t we order? On the whole, the food was delicious. While everyone comes here for the yakitori, one of my favourite dishes was actually the takowasabi which consisted of raw chunks of octopus mixed with wasabi stems. I’ve had this at several places and Zakkushi’s was a real winner. Be warned, it’s packed full of wasabi… like the completely clear-your-sinuses kinda amount.

The damage

The damage

Another favourite was the hormone aka pork intestine. By the time we ordered it, there was only one skewer left so unfortunately we had to share it amongst six people. It’s no surprise why they run out so quickly. It was delicious! And if you’re a big fan of chicken hearts and gizzards like myself, these are a must-order.

The unagi was also a favourite as was the shime saba and chicken karaage. And I can’t forget about the age mochi. Crispy on the outside from being deep fried with the same delightful chew you’d expect from mochi.

The only low points of the meal were the carbs including the BBQ beef don, yakisoba and yakioni. None of them were very memorable. Just filler, really. Next time, I’d stick to the meat.

Carbs aside, we had a fantastic time at Zakkushi. Loved the food and lively atmosphere. It’s obvious why they’re still such a popular destination in the city. I’d come back in a heartbeat!

At a glance:

  • Chain from Vancouver which also owns Ramen Raijin on Gerrard and Sushi Bar Sushiya (located underneath Zakkushi)
  • Located in Cabbagetown; on Carlton just west of Parliament
  • Open late – until 1am Sun to Thurs (last call at midnight) and 2am on Fri/Sat (last call at 1am)
  • Specializes in yakitori (meat skewers grilled over Japanese charcoal)
  • Takes reservations (highly recommended on weekends); 2 hour dining limit
  • Loud, lively atmosphere
  • Extensive menu; yakitori are priced by the skewer; great for large groups
  • Really enjoyed the food; would come back in a heartbeat

Ratings (out of 5):

  • Food: 4 stars
  • Service: 3 stars
  • Atmosphere: 4 stars

Zakkushi on Urbanspoon

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